You notice them on the motorways every day– trucks and tractor-trailers carrying the products we will see in our stores. It is not unexpected, with so many trucks on the road, to see accidents.
A collision involving a large, heavy vehicle like a tractor-trailer can be serious. The National Highway and Safety Administration reports that most of the people killed in collisions with large trucks were the drivers and passengers of other vehicles.
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While it might seem that more truck accidents would happen on the busiest streets, a most of deadly truck accidents happened in rural areas. No-one wants to be in an accident, but it is a good idea to learn what to expect if one does occur.
Following any accident, things may happen very fast… Commercial trucking companies and their insurers are equipped to go into action right following an accident. They will look for skid marks on the road, take photos of the accident scene, interview witnesses, and collect data from the “black box” computer that most trucks carry.
If the truck had an onboard computer, it may hold the same information as the black box on an airplane. The information in the truck’s computer, and any other data compiled by their investigators, will not automatically be made available to other parties. A knowledgeable truck accident attorney will have a team of investigators on call, helping to accumulate evidence for you before it is destroyed or degraded.
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You will have access to the police report following the accident, but do not presume that the police report includes all of the information you might need.
All commercial trucks involved in interstate commerce must abide by the procedures set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Commercial truck drivers must comply with all federal and state laws at all times. If you were in an accident with a truck or tractor-trailer, you should know if the driver was in violation of federal or state safety guidelines. A common infraction occurs when drivers do not take required breaks.
Drivers are limited to 14 continuous hours at one time, including breaks and meal times. A compulsory 10 hour break is required after 14 hours on duty. Commercial drivers carry log books to record their hours, but inadequate or erroneous log entries are not uncommon. A driver who is tired can be as dangerous as a drunk driver can. It will be important to determine how long a commercial driver had been on duty prior to an accident.
A truck transporting hazardous materials may inflict further injury or sickness following an accident. If a truck carrying hazardous materials is involved in an accident, an investigation must be done to find out if all rules concerning the storage and handling of hazardous material have been complied with.
Commercial vehicles, like all motor vehicles, must successfully pass routine safety inspections. After an accident, it may be important to review the truck’s safety inspection reports, and to re-inspect the truck for faulty equipment.
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It may appear difficult to think of these details after you have experienced a serious accident. Let the professionals at Campbell & Associates tackle these details while you focus on your recovery. If you have experienced an accident with a truck or tractor-trailer, call us for a no-cost assessment at 704-333-0885.